2017 Honda City SV+ review

Photos: Sattaphan Kantha

B-segment saloon gets a nip and tuck to remain a decent choice for people needing a properly kitted car.

What's new?

Honda has extended a facelift for its City saloon as it has reached midlife. Apart from some minor cosmetic changes on the front and rear, the B-segment family car sees new seat upholstery and plastic trim inside the cabin, as well as connectivity for both iOS and Android systems.

The 117hp 1.5-litre petrol engine and CVT automatic transmission remain unchanged. In auto form, there are five trims to choose from with unchanged prices ranging from 589,000 to 751,000 baht.

Tested here is the range-topping SV+ trim featuring six airbags and the usual electronics governing brakes, traction and stability. These three active safety features are now the class norm in Thailand.

What's cool?

Some interior tweaks include retailored seat upholstery and new plastic trim. 

The City has now become the latest Honda to feature the brand's family look, which helps give it a more distinctive character apart from the new LED daytime running lights.

Some exterior elements like the bottom part of the rear bumper -- which were accessories in the pre-facelift model -- are now standard in this particular trim tested here.

Although the interior doesn't really feel totally fresh, the fingertip controls for the infotainment and air-conditioning systems are nice to use. The instrument dials behind the steering wheel also offer good clarity. Plus, the cabin remains one of the most spacious around.

Aside the dated Ford Fiesta Ecoboost, the City offers a good balance between performance and fuel consumption. Out on a drive to Suan Pheung in western Thailand, the car returned some 15kpl, which is decent for a motor that doesn't feel sluggish. Around town, the City continues to score with effortless acceleration, light steering and easy handling during parking thanks to a camera portraying images on the centre console.

What's not?

While the overly light steering may take away some precision outside of the city, it's the rough secondary ride that's more of an issue. At almost all times, you can feel and hear the road surface penetrating beneath the cabin floor. Dynamically speaking, the City is no match for the Fiesta.

And sure, airbags costs money. But it would be nice if more grades get the additional side and curtain airbags the SV+ boasts.

Buy or bye?

Along with the Fiesta and Toyota Vios, the City stands out in the B-segment with usable performance for both town and highway use. Other B-segment cars made to Ecocar rules -- petrol engines can't exceed 1.3-litre and fuel economy must be at least 20kpl -- don't have the oomph to match these three non-Ecocar models.

That said, the City, particularly in SV+ form, is a great all-round family saloon for the masses thanks to reasonably spacious package, good safety kit and ample driving performance -- all backed up by strong brand credentials.

Yes, it may be pricey, but the City comes with those added benefits, which can't be found in all of the cheaper Ecocar saloons like the Mazda 2, Mitsubishi Attrage, Nissan Almera and Suzuki Ciaz.

There's connectivity for both iOS and Android systems. 

Rough secondary ride is one letdown in the City. 

City is about an easy rather than entertaining drive.

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